One of the most notable COVID-19 related changes that we witnessed in 2020 was that of families spending more time at home. In March 2020, as COVID-19 cases spiked around the country, schools and offices closed, leaving families scrambling to create at home work/study spaces for adults and kids alike.
A result of this shift to working and schooling from home was a huge year-over-year increase in in-home data consumption, and not just with computers.
Data consumption from Comscore Connected Home custom reporting shows increased usage across all connected devices for the first couple months of the COVID-19 lockdowns, where smart TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, phones, smart speakers, and streaming boxes & sticks all saw strong growth in data usage versus 2019*.
By summer 2020, year-over-year growth rates across all connected devices had leveled off to around 15 percent on average. However, smart TVs and home computers were still witnessing growth rates upwards of 30 percent versus 2019. Despite some kids returning to in-person schooling in the fall of 2020, as well as some adults returning to their offices, at least part time, home computer data consumption continued to accelerate through the end of the year. As the year closed out, we saw roughly the same year-over-year growth in data consumption in Q4 2020 as we saw in the weeks leading up to the first COVID-19 related closures.
Despite the cross-device year-over-year growth in data consumption, there wasn’t much of a shift in how data consumption was allocated across devices in 2020 versus 2019. With the exception of a slight shift away from gaming consoles in favor of smart TVs, households consumed data in very similar ways.
It appears that people have adapted to a modified way of life with COVID-19 and, with the exception of Q4 2020, we are no longer seeing the same level of growth in data consumption as we witnessed in the first few months of the pandemic. Regardless, we will continue to monitor these trends and report key findings.
*Comscore Connected Home enables better understanding of consumer engagement with technology and media by measuring behavior across every network- or router-connected device in the home.
Read our ongoing updates on shifting consumption trends and the resulting impact on the advertising and media industries on comscore.com/Coronavirus.
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